PDP crisis: Obasanjo group fights back

The crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party deepened on Wednesday as one of its sacked national officers threatend to sue the National Chairman of the party, Bamangar Tukur, for criminal contempt if he failed to reinstate him.

Obasanjo

The National Auditor of the party, Chief Bode Mustapaha, who was sacked last Friday, wrote Tukur through his lawyer to reverse his removal with officers from the South-West.

The party had on Friday sacked Mustapha; the National Vice-Chairman (South-West), Mr. Segun Oni; and dissolved its South-West Executive.

The sacked officers are believed to be loyalists of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Mustapha also asked the party to rescind its decisions to recognise the Adebayo Dayo faction of the PDP in Ogun State and reverse the sacking of the South-West zonal executive of the party.

In the letter, Mustapha’s lawyer, Gboyega Oyewole, said that a criminal contempt would be initiated against Tukur, if he failed to reverse the decisions.

He said, “It is our fervent hope that the reversal will be effected to avoid the unpleasant consequences of a proceeding in criminal contempt, which will be instituted against your good self before the Court of Appeal among several other options open to our client.”

He, however, said that he had confidence in Tukur and other members of the PDP National Working Committee.

The letter dated February 18, was received at the national headquarters of the party in Abuja on February 19, 2013.

But in spite of the letter, the PDP went ahead on Wednesday to swear in the caretaker committee for its South- West branch. The committee is led by Chief Ishola Filani.

It also swore in Alhaji Adewole Adeyanju to replace Mustapha as the National Auditor.

In their letter, Mustapha’s lawyers said the action of the PDP was in disregard of an order of stay of execution by the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, on June 25, 2012.

They said that the Court of Appeal had ordered a stay of execution of the Federal High Court judgment of January 27, 2011 which the party relied upon to sack the officers on Friday.

The court of appeal had said, “An order of stay of execution or further execution of the judgment and orders of Hon. Justice C.E. Archibong of the Federal High Court, Lagos in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/1248/2011 delivered on 27/1/11 is hereby made.”

Mustapha’s lawyers attached a copy of the order to the letter written to Tukur.

The letter also stated, “Our client instructed us to write this letter to you sir following the publication of the decision of the National Working Committee of the PDP led by your good self to remove our client from office as well as dissolve the South-West Zonal Executive Committee of the party and also give recognition to Adebayo Dayo faction of Ogun State PDP in compliance with orders and judgment of the court of law.”

It added that Mustapha had “implicit and unflinching” confidence in Tukur’s leadership.

When asked whether he was aware that the party was served with the stay of execution, the National Legal Adviser, Mr. Victor Kwon, said, “I am not in Abuja. Therefore I am not capable of speaking on the matter.”

Also, the chairman of the South-West caretaker committee, Filani, told one of our correspondents that he was not aware of any court matter against the PDP.

The party said the removal of the former National Secretary of the party, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola; Mustapha, Oni and others was not vindictive.

Rather, the party said it decided to remove them from office to avoid committing its officials to prison for contempt of court.

The PDP said it decided to act swiftly on court rulings that ordered the removal of the officers.

Deputy National Chairman of the party, Dr. Sam Jaja, stated this in Abuja on Wednesday while administering oath of office on the members of the caretaker committee of the party for the South-West.

He said, “We did not remove the former occupiers of offices in the zone due to act of vindictiveness. It was done purely on the orders of courts and we as a party must obey court orders.

“We are aware that there were plans to charge the leadership of the party for contempt. In order to avoid this, we needed to do what we did. We did not do that to either spite anyone or any group.”

He told the caretaker committee members not to engage in execution of any personal agenda but to be on the same page with ideas and agenda of the party.

In his response, Filani described the committee’s work as ‘horendous,’ but promised that the committee would do a good job.

Already, he said he had visited Obasanjo, who according to him, remaines a staunch member of the party both in the zone and in the country.

Filani said, “The sacking of the people has nothing to do with Obasanjo. Indeed, as soon as I was appointed, I went to visit him on Sunday and I explained the circumstances leading to my appointment to him.

“He was satisfied with my explanation. Our own is to reconcile and we pray to succeed and by the grace of God, we shall succeed.”

Asked what was the response of Obasanjo to his explanation, Filani said he would not disclose it.

Earlier, the Legal Adviser to the party, Chief Joe Gadzama(SAN), had administered oath of office on the new National Auditor of the party, Alhaji Adewole Adeyanju.

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